Natamycin or pimaricin appears naturally as a result of the fermentation of bacteria in the Streptomyces natalensis genus. It was discovered more than 50 years ago, and is mainly used for the preservation of food in both its liquid and powder form.
Natamycin protects food from mould and yeast growth using a mechanism that destabilises ergosterol in its cell wall. As ergosterol is not present on the outer membranes of the bacteria, they are unaffected.
Natamycin is one of the food preservatives permitted worldwide to protect products such as cheeses, fermented/dried sausages, yoghurts, beverages, wines, and baked goods against contamination by fungi and/or yeasts.
It does not affect the color, taste or smell of food